If you’re a college student or entry-level job seeker, the phrase “it’s all about who you know” is more true than ever. Every person you meet could be a difference-maker.
But, when every traditional networking opportunity is flooded with like-minded young professionals all trying to get ahead, it can be hard to stand out in the eyes of potential employers.
Luckily, networking can happen anywhere, which is why we compiled this list of four unusual places to make great connections:
1. The Gym
Business is filled with more stress than you could ever imagine. And where do executives go to relieve that stress? The gym. Whether you’re a workout buff or not, going to a fitness center is a fantastic, underrated networking hub. People from every industry under the sun go there to stay healthy, and meeting people is easier than you’d think.
Simply asking someone if they need a spot, talking to the person running on the treadmill next to you, or breaking the silence in a crowded sauna could potentially lead to your next life-changing career move. According to this Inc. article, the gym can lead to a myriad of business opportunities — you just need to get out and find them for yourself.
2. The Bar
It’s amazing how valuable connections can quickly form when there’s alcohol involved. But most people who go to the bar usually stick with their group and don’t branch out unless it’s to talk to a member of the opposite sex.
The bar not only provides a stress-free, informal setting for meeting new people, but also it’s a great place to discuss your ideas and thoughts with said new people without fear of scrutiny. Even if you don’t enjoy drinking, simply taking advantage of the camaraderie a bar offers could leave a lasting impact on your professional life.
3. The Airport
Networking while flying is a thought that rarely gets entertained by professionals, mostly due to the stigma that everybody just wants to be left alone on a plane. While this may be partially true, casually starting a conversation with someone could turn into a business opportunity at the drop of a hat.
While at the airport, be on the lookout for someone who looks like they might be a business owner or executive. If they don’t appear busy, sit next to them while waiting for your flight and strike up a polite, seemingly innocent conversation. If the person warms up to you, change the pace of the conversation to ask them about their work and what they do. Before the flight starts boarding, get a business card if you’re interested in their industry so you can follow-up with them. Boom. Connection made.
4. The Stadium
Whether it’s little-league or pro, sports stadiums are a breeding ground for valuable potential connections looking for some entertainment. Stadiums make it extraordinarily easy to meet new people — with a combination of sports and alcohol, it’s a social buffet!
Turn a mutual hatred for the opposing team into a life-changing business partnership, or scout the stands for companies on an outing — there are hundreds of creative ways stadiums can be used as a catalyst for networking, all it takes is a little effort on your part!
What is your favorite unusual place for networking? Have you ever found a career with those connections?
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at ComeRecommended!
About the Author: Alex Macksoud is a senior at Central Michigan University studying advertising with a minor in marketing. Aside from being a content creator trainee, Alex is also a social media trainee at Come Recommended. He has heaps of experience in advertising, social media, public relations, content creation, SEO, and marketing – mainly from internships and leadership roles in student organizations